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Showing posts from 2017

Quick Tip: An APH Night Before Christmas. Who else is ready for some holiday fun?

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Our final Quick Tip video for the year. https://youtu.be/1S74WjNYfJQ

APH Awards Its Highest Honor to a Deserving Member of the Field

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Dr. M. Cay Holbrook Awarded APH’s 2017 Wings of Freedom Award Cay Holbrook has been an important member of the APH family for over 20 years. Her accomplishments have strongly benefited the teachers, students, and families we proudly serve. Her professional credentials as a vision teacher in several states, as vision program director and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins, associate professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and professor at the University of British Columbia, make her uniquely qualified to guide projects and author policies that make us, and our field, stronger.
Other facets of Dr. Holbrook’s amazing career include her work with the Carter Center in China, her co-creation of the biennial Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference with Janie Blome (GITWL), and countless edited and authored textbooks, articles, and curriculums, including her groundbreaking work with Alan Koenig to create the Learning Media Assessment that continues to be used internationa…

Quick Tip: Individual Calendar Kit. Help kids get ready for the new year with the Individual Calendar Kit!

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Here it is! December 2017 APH News!

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This month, APH is transforming access as dramatically as braille did back in the 1850s with the introduction of BrailleBlaster™ software.

A Few of This Month’s Headlines:
APH Approaches Major Milestone NEW! Color-by-Texture CIRCUS Coloring PagesNEW! AnimalWatch Vi Suite (for iPad)Field Tests and SurveysCreate your own Braille at Home!APH InSights Art Competition 2018 Now Open!Braille Badges Contest Deadline is Here!Winner Announced! We Have a New Unforgettable APH Video Star!STEM CornerSocial Media SpotlightAPH Travel Calendar and more…http://www.aph.org/news/december-2017/

The Pearl: A Throwback Thursday Object for Creating Tactile Graphics

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On the seventy-sixth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, we tried to find something that applied to remember the day, but we don’t have that kind of collection.  But we do have a PEARL!  The Plate Embossing Apparatus for Raised Lines was invented and designed by APH engineer Gary Davis in 1984.  To my knowledge, only two were ever made.  The PEARL is a metal tooling machine that functioned much like a sewing machine, only instead of stitching fabric, it embosses raised lines on metal embossing plates used to create tactile graphics.  About four feet wide, the PEARL is all business with its gray paint and stainless steel hardware, so in that regard it does reflect those ships on battleship row.  The operator sat in front of the machine and fed the plate under the tooling arm.  Although most of our tactile graphics production has gone digital, we still have a PEARL ready to produce plates for jobs that run on our Heidelberg Presses.

Photo Caption (The Plate Embossing Apparatus for…

Braille: A Foundation for the Future

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Braille: A Foundation for the Future
by Craig Meador, President, APH
Photo shows a boy reading braille.

Technology has been a boon for everyone and people who are blind or visually impaired have benefited a great deal from the availability of, and perhaps, more importantly, the efforts to make technology fully accessible.There are more ways to learn and access information and entertainment than ever before, thanks to these advances in technology. While this has provided great cause for celebration (believe me, we at APH are the biggest fans) it has also come with some misinformation and incorrect assumptions about the need for braille.Let me begin by saying these advances will not take the place of braille as e-readers will never entirely replace printed materials.

Braille is an established form of communication used by people around the world who are blind and visually impaired. Braille is essential to literacy, because it incorporates all the elements of the printed word, including …

Throwback Thursday Object: Fundraising Poster for Rochester Eye Bank

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Our object this week is a fundraising poster for the Rochester Eye Bank.  "Mommy! I can See Again! “ is printed on the yellow poster with a black-and-white illustration of a young girl holding a rag doll.  The Rochester Eye-Bank and Research Society was founded by the Rochester Downtown Lions Club in 1952 to retrieve and store eyes for corneal transplants and research.  The first successful cornea transplant occurred in 1905 in Europe, but the creation of eye banks to store eye tissue was critical to the success of the endeavor.  The first eye bank in the U.S. was founded in 1944 in New York City.  The eye bank in Rochester closed its doors in 2015.
Micheal Hudson
Museum Director, APH

Quick Tip: 2017 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Artists in Your Life. Watch Kerry and Michelle show you 3 great gifts for artists with blindness, low vision, or typical vision.

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Your #GivingTuesday Donation Can Make Dreams Come True

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Your #GivingTuesday donation can make dreams come true

by Craig Meador, APH President Photo: Portrait of Dr. Craig Meador
Everyone has dreams. That’s one of the many ways people who are blind or visually impaired are exactly the same as people who are typically sighted. We all have dreams and hope we can make them come true.
People who are blind or visually impaired dream of getting an education, going to college, and maybe earning an advanced degree. They dream of jobs that bring them satisfaction and independence. They dream of participating in their communities and our society. They dream of achieving everything they set out to do—just like everyone else.
At APH, all our work centers around making these dreams possible, and providing people who are blind or visually impaired with the products and educational resources they need to fulfill those dreams. Although we’re a nonprofit organization, we’re also a business—not a wish factory—so we have to operate within the confines of budgets …

Your Wish List for Accessible Cities

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A Wish List for Accessible Cities

by Craig Meador, President, APH
At the American Printing House for the Blind, we believe accessibility is for everyone, everywhere. But as we all know, most cities and communities aren’t fully accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. APH wants to change that, and we took a big step forward by asking people who are blind or visually impaired what they want and need to navigate the world independently.
Over the summer, we conducted a survey at major field conferences asking participants to give us their definition of an accessible city and community. We interviewed 397 people, including those who are blind and visually impaired, as well as caregivers, family members, and practitioners in the field. We also received 436 online survey responses, making this the largest study of this topic to date.

First, I want to thank everyone who participated in our survey. Our vision of creating fully accessible communities — like the Accessible Louisvill…

Throwback Thursday Object: Perkins Details a Catastrophic Event from 1917 that Changed the Treatment of Blindness

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On the morning of December 6th, 1917, a French cargo ship loaded with explosives collided with a Norwegian freighter in the harbor of Halifax Canada.  The resulting explosion killed about 2,000 people and the flying glass that resulted from thousands of windows blown out by the pressure wave injured the eyes of almost six thousand people and blinded 41 permanently.  The large number of eye injuries turned out to an important event in both medical care for eye injuries and rehabilitation efforts for people who are blind.  This week the archives at the Perkins School for the Blind commemorates the centennial of this awful event and its aftermath by posting documents that tell the story.  Perkins has several other online exhibits that are equally fascinating.
Photo caption: View of the Halifax Harbor area after the explosion. Every tree and building in sight is shattered and broken. Everything is covered in snow.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
APH

Quick Tip: Joy Player Cartridge Field Test! APH seeks field test sites to test a newly designed digital cartridge for the Joy Player.

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Throwback Thursday Object: An Early Math Aid

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Our object this week is a wooden frame with small compartments in a twenty by thirty grid.  There are metal types with a raised Arabic numeral on the end that fit into the “cells.”  Originally called an Arabic Slate, this style of math aid was developed in Paris, France in the 19th century.  One source from 1910 called it the Paris Method.  This particular model, known as an Arithmetic Type Frame, was developed in 1936 at APH as an instructional aid for working problems in long division, multiplication, subtraction, and addition.   The supplied lead type was called Philadelphia Great Primer Type.  In 1959, APH introduced the Texas slate to replace the Arithmetic Type Frame.
Photo Captions: First Photo: The eight inch by thirteen inch Arithmetic Type Frame had 600 “cells.”
The second image shows you a close-up of the raised number types.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
APH

November 2017 APH News

This month, APH is transforming access as dramatically as braille did back in the 1850s with the introduction of BrailleBlaster™ software. A Few of This Month’s Headlines:

Blasting Braille Into the Future NEW! Increasing Complexity PegboardNEW! Large Magnetic/Dry-Erase BoardNEW! DeafBlind Pocket CommunicatorNEW! Braille Datebook, 2018Field Tests and Surveys2017 Wings of Freedom AwardSome Daring Adventurers from Annual Meeting 2017!Essay Contest Coming Soon - APH 160th Anniversary!APH InSights Art Competition 2018 Now Open!Social Media SpotlightAPH Travel Calendar and more…http://www.aph.org/news/november-2017/

Quick Tip: Reach And Match Learning Kit. The Reach and Match Learning Kit is an innovative system for students with sensory impairment and other special needs to help them learn while engaging with their peers.

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Throwback Thursday Object: Cabinet of Printer's Type

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Did you ever wonder why we call capital letters “upper case” and non-capitals “lower case”?  They are printing terms.  From the origins of printing, Mr. Gutenberg and all that, some poor fellow had to sit with a “case” of printing type and lay out the page in a frame called a “galley” one letter at a time.  The capitals were in the top drawers of the case and so on.  Our object today is a cabinet of printer’s type.  The angled top allowed the typesetter to place his galley frame there while he loaded it with type from the drawers, or maybe rest a drawer there while he unloaded a previously used arrangement.  APH used type in several ways.  In more modern times, we used traditional type to print labels on book spines and Talking Book records.  In our early days, we used specialized type to manufacture raised letter books, the tactile books that preceded braille.
(Photo Caption:  Forty-four inch tall wooden case with space for twenty-four drawers, each drawer is about an inch high and is…

Quick Tip: Tactile Compass for Math and Art. The Tactile Compass for Math and Art is an excellent assistive tool that enables students who are visually impaired to draw tactile circles.

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Throwback Thursday Object: The Calculaid

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Our object this week is one of my favorites, a math tool from the 1960s.  Andrew F. Schott, a math professor at Marquette University, developed an elementary school mathematics curriculum known as individualized mathematics in the mid-1950s which was adopted by schools all over the country.  In the early 1960s, the research department at APH began studying the possibility of adapting Schott's system in schools for the blind.  An abacus developed by Schott, the Numberaid, and a number of other devices, the Calculaid, Measureaid (a ruler and protractor), Fractionaid, and Geometraid were eventually listed in the APH catalog.  Pictured here is the Calculaid, basically a white plastic board with ten rows of six plastic wheels.  The “wheels” are actually ten sided, brailled to represent zero to nine.  A frame at the top of the Calculaid held your “Numberaid.”  APH was always looking at new trends in education and testing their adaptation for students who were blind or visually impaired.…

Quick Tip: Pegs and Pegboard. Get your students’ attention and foster visual development, eye-hand coordination, awareness of spatial relationships, and matching and sequencing skills with the Pegs and Pegboard!

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Throwback Thursday Object: Braille Pin Board

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Our object this week is a braille pin board which belonged to a home teacher of blind students in Connecticut named Corrine Delesdernier.  She attended the Perkins School in Watertown, Massachusetts and died in 1957.  Her wooden frame contains a brass board with 225 perforated braille cells in a fifteen by fifteen grid.  The rows are numbered in braille one to fifteen and the columns are lettered “A” through “O”. A cloth cushion on the right stores push pins that can be used to create raised braille symbols. Most of the pins have white, round plastic heads; a few are steel pins with clear glass heads.  I have most often seen these types of boards used to create braille crossword puzzles.  The Royal National Institute for the Blind in England sold a similar design in its 1933 catalog.  The frame of the pin board is clearly stamped “PERKINS INST FOR THE BLIND” although it is not clear if it was made at Perkins or purchased by them.
Caption: Braille Pin board
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Direct…

Quick Tip: APH Annual Meeting 2017. The APH Annual Meeting is like a yearly homecoming for those in the blindness field, giving us opportunities to catch up, meet new people, and network with old friends and acquaintances.

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October 2017 APH News

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http://www.aph.org/news/october-2017/

APH News is your monthly link to the latest information on the products, services, field tests, and training opportunities from the American Printing House for the Blind.


This week, visitors to APH’s 149th Annual Meeting will be able to navigate inside the Louisville International Airport using the new Indoor Explorer feature of our Nearby Explorer™ app for iOS®!
A Few of This Month’s Headlines:
Indoor Navigation at Annual Meeting NEW! Indoor ExplorerNEW! NewT KitNEW! Early Braille Trade Books: Rigby PM Platinum—UEBNEW! Math Flash (Action for Google Home/Google Assistant)Field Tests and SurveysIn Memoriam: Remembering Jack DeckerNEW! Handy Overview of Building on PatternsAccessible Appliances: GE, Firstbuild, and an Inventive Young ManSocial Media SpotlightAPH Travel Calendar and more…

LOOK! The New Online Tool for Improving Reading Skills of Individuals with CVI

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What Is It?
In its blog, CVI Scotland introduces us to its new online tool, Look, which people with CVI can use to learn to read or improve their existing reading skills. Here is a portion of CVI Scotland’s description of Look:
Look is a reading tool created by CVI SCOTLAND, with multiple functions and settings, designed to make reading easier for people with CVI. Look can be used for all levels of reader, from a non-reader learning to read, to an experienced reader wanting specific settings to read faster and more comfortably.
Look enables the user to insert any text (up to 10,000 words), and adjust the settings, to read a single word on an uncluttered screen, and either change each word manually, or set the speed for Look to present the words automatically at your comfortable reading speed.
You may view one word at a time on the screen or view as much as one sentence at a time. Look contains a host of settings, some of which may be unfamiliar. It is quite likely that each user will pref…

Quick Tip: NewT. There’s a new APH kit in town! It’s called NewT: New Tools and Activities for use with APH’s Functional Vision and Learning Media Assessment. See why this kit has become so popular so quickly!

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Throwback Thursday Object: Triformation BD-3 Embosser

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The BD-3 was Triformation's first braille embosser, released in 1971. The BD-3 was the first commercially available digital braille embosser in the U.S.  On the outside it looks like a normal American Tourister suitcase.  On the inside you get the deluxe mid-century faux woodgrain table with a reel of paper tape, a covered embossing head, and a small row of switches, lights, and jacks.  It was described as a "braille verifier," producing braille copy on paper tape as regular copy was typed, either by a teletype machine, or a computer terminal.  It weighed 15 pounds and cost $1,850.  Triformation's full sheet embosser, the LED-120, became available in June 1974, and although more expensive, $9,000, it was much more popular.
This example was obtained by Howard Goldstein while studying computer science at the University of Connecticut in 1976.  It was connected to a Teletype Model 33 teleprinter, producing braille on paper tape as the teleprinter produced print.  Accordi…

Quick Tip: Explorer Bright Ray. The Explorer Bright Ray is a new head-worn LED lamp to help adults and students with so many activities!

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Throwback Thursday Object: G-4 Obstacle Detector

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Blind since boyhood, Thomas A. Benham earned his doctorate in electrical engineering from Penn and taught physics and math at Haverford College until he retired in 1976. In 1950, he began working under contract with the Veterans Administration to evaluate the Signal Corps Obstacle Detector, a pioneering electronic travel aid.  In 1953, Haverford subcontracted further investigations to Biophysical Instruments, Inc., whose lead investigator, Malvern Benjamin, worked with Benham to develop three different prototype obstacle detectors based upon the same principles as the Signal Corps model.  All three used reflected light to detect obstacles/objects in the direction ahead of the user.  The G-4 was an early model which apparently never made it past the prototype stage. About half the size of a box of cereal, its brown Bakelite case has two large lenses on the front, a heavy battery in its base, and an angled handle with a crystal knob on the top that would vibrate when an obstacle was det…

Quick Tip: Slapstack Math. Slapstack Math is an action and memory game that uses virtual math flash cards instead of playing cards.

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Quick Tip: ECC Icon Poster. The ECC Icon Poster is a wall-sized print/tactile poster that lists the Expanded Core Curriculum skills important for the specialized instruction of blind and visually impaired students.

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Throwback Thursday Object: Tactile Poker Chips

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Have you ever seen tactile poker chips?  They have been making braille playing cards for more than a hundred years, so I guess it makes sense that you need accessible chips too.  These plastic red, white, and blue chips came in the traditional round, an octagon, and a scalloped round.  We found them on ebay, but I don’t know any other history.  Send us your stories of any tactile chips you have used. Add comments to this post or to the accompanying posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Quick Tip: Paint by Number Safari™ Tropical Rainforest. Tropical Rainforest is the first of the Paint by Number SafariTM Series. This coloring series is for children and adults who wish to learn about art, nature, and real world colors.

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Throwback Thursday Object: Spine Chase

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Our museum collection contains over 230 years of products for people that are blind or visually impaired, but it also contains a lot of interesting manufacturing and printing history.  Our object this week is a specialty tool used to emboss the print gold leaf spine labels on our braille books.  A “chase” is a frame used to hold printers type in a printing press.  The type was set by hand and the screw handle tightened until the type was locked in place.   The type chase was then slid into a book case stamping machine.  It was probably custom made, either for APH locally, but more likely directly in the APH machine shop sometime around 1960. Captions: First Photo, Steel table on the chase has a fixed lip on one side and an adjustable lip on the other tightened with a hand screw. Second Photo: The green linen spine of the American Vest Pocket Dictionary from 1969 shows a gold leaf label stamped with the spine chase. Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Quick Tip: Protein Synthesis Kit. The Protein Synthesis Kit builds upon the DNA-RNA Kit and provides students who are blind and visually impaired with another sturdy and dependable model for molecular biology.

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Throwback Thursday Object: A-74 Talking Book Machine

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Our object this week is a common Talking Book phonograph from around 1974.  I really like the bright colors that the NLS was using back then.  This one is green and the speaker is mounted in its removable lid.  The passage of the Pratt-Smoot Act in 1931 created the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.  The act was amended in 1933 to include talking book service.  The WPA began manufacturing talking book machines for the NLS in 1935.  The first commercially purchased machines were bought by NLS in 1947.  The first transistorized machines, like this one, appeared in 1968.  Three speeds appeared in 1970.  This example was owned by Eva Morton, an alumni of the Kentucky School for the Blind.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Quick Tip: The Solar Eclipse at APH. On August 21st, 2017 during the solar eclipse that journeyed across the US, for the first time in history, individuals could experience a tactile representation of an eclipse that changed in real time. Also check out the video of individuals actually "Touching the sun" using Graphiti.

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Throwback Thursday Object: Swail Dot Inverter

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Ever since Louis Braille adapted his “Braille Tablet” to write his system, people have been bothered by the downward writing involved in using a braille slate and stylus.  In order to read braille that you write on a standard slate, you have to turn the paper over, so you have to reverse both the direction you write and the characters as you write them.  There have been a lot of different efforts to overcome this perceived deficiency, but I’m not going into that here.  Our object this week is a Swail Dot Inverter, introduced by APH in 1965.  It is a humble little aluminum stylus with a faceted handle and a hollow tipped steel blade.  When not in use, you can store the blade in the handle.  It was designed to emboss raised dots, useful for constructing simple tactile graphics.  You can still buy one!  Although the Swail works with paper, it seems to give the best results with plastic Brailon paper from American Thermoform, which also appeared in the APH catalog for the first time in 19…

Quick Tip: Bear Hunt in UEB. Bear Hunt, an award-winning tactile book, is an exceptional vehicle for building a foundation for early literacy. It provides the perfect recipe to stir up a desire to read in young emergent and early braille readers, as well as readers of all ages and visual abilities.

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August 2017 APH News

A Few of This Month’s Headlines:

Coming in August: MATT Connect
NEW! Bear Hunt - UEB; Indoor Explorer; Explorer Bright Ray; and ECC Icon PosterOrder Fall 2017 Textbooks Now!Field Tests and Surveys“A Daring Adventure Awaits” at the 2017 APH Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests! Braille Badges Contest Begins This SeptemberSTEM CornerTreasure From the Migel LibrarySocial Media SpotlightAPH Travel Calendar and more…http://www.aph.org/news/august-2017/

Throwback Thursday Object: The Talking Wallet

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The talking wallet recognized paper bills and announced their value.  It was developed by the Boston Information & Technology Corporation in cooperation with the American Foundation for the Blind(AFB).  In a 1992 edition of AFB's Braille Monitor, BIT’s President, Mohymen Saddeek, reported that roughly 150 were manufactured before the company failed in a dispute over the product.
There are many tools that supply a voice reading of the information normally gained by sight. Such aids include the talking scale, clock, watch, timer, blood-pressure monitor, thermometer, blood-glucose monitoring kit, talking wallet, label makers, calculators, and computer-speech output.
Photo caption:  The Talking Wallet was black plastic, about 4x6 inches, and opened up to accept the paper bill.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Quick Tip: A Closer Look at Field Services Events. What does an APH Field Services event look like? Here's just one example!

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Throwback Thursday Object: Flyer Announcing a Concert by Students from "The Perkins Institution for the Blind" from 1873!

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Our object this week is a small paper broadside from 1873.  In bold print letters it proclaims the appearance of “Mr. J.N. Marble and his associates from the Perkins Institution for the Blind” for a “Concert at Town Hall.”  These were likely pasted up all over town and handed out on the street.  John N. Marble was a student from Massachusetts at Perkins between 1868 and 1871.  Samuel Gridley Howe, the superintendent at Perkins, regularly exhibited his students all over the country, but this show was a money making venture.  It cost a quarter to get in.  We can’t be sure whether “Town Hall,” where the program was staged, was the Old City Hall in Boston or in some other community.  The repertoire featured a variety of popular tunes, primarily American, and concluded with “America,” although that song was not the “America the Beautiful” so familiar today.  That old favorite was not published until 1910.



Photo caption:  Nine by six inch concert flyer with a program listing
Micheal A. Hudson

Quick Tip: National Instructional Partnership (NIP) Events. APH sponsors National Instructional Partnership Events with experts in the field to initiate national, state, and regional training opportunities for parents, consumers, and personnel who serve children who are visually impaired.

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Use the OrCam to Identify Objects, Read Print and More!

The following article comes from Hannah Ziring of OrCam Technologies. I have read about this device, viewed YouTube videos about it, and saw it in action very briefly at one of the summer conventions. You may find the device quite useful for the reasons listed in the article.
Glasses for a Person Who is Blind
The OrCam device is a smart camera that sits on the user’s glasses and reads text aloud to people who are visually impaired or blind.
While the OrCam device is not exactly “
glasses for blind person
”, it definitely looks that way. The device is so small and discreet, it is barely noticeable.
Besides its compact size, there are many amazing OrCam features that make the device unique and accessible.
Easy to use: OrCam MyEye is an intuitive wearable device with a smart camera that clips onto a regular pair of glasses and is able to 'read' text and convert it into speech relaying the message to the user. The device is activated by a simple intuitive gesture – pointing your f…

Throwback Thursday Object: Humble Wooden Workstand

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Our object this week is a humble wooden workstand, made and used here at the American Printing House and painted a nice industrial gray.  Historic photographs show similar custom-made tables in a variety of shapes and sizes used as work stands in a number of processes around the building.  In this picture of the stereograph room where embossing plates were made, you can see a table much like this one in the left foreground.   These tables are an endangered species around APH today.  A few years ago our production department installed a Kaizen construction area where our production staff can put together special purpose tables and materials carts in a jiffy from metal tubes and particle board.  I guess you could say that these old work tables were the Kaizen equivalent of their day.
In the second photo, probably from 1950 or so, office manager Jane Kent guides a group of well-dressed ladies on a tour of the stereograph room at APH.  A transcriber sits in front of a stereograph, transl…

Quick Tip: Sense-able Ways to Build Tactile Literacy Skills. Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, recently presented a session entitled "Sense-able Ways to Build Tactile Literacy Skills" at the AER International Orientation and Mobility Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Fully Audio Music Lessons for People Who Are Blind

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Introduction
We received an email recently regarding a site dedicated to teaching basic music lessons to people who are blind. some audio music lessons existed in the National Library Service (NLS) catalog, but not many people spoke about them, perhaps causing some people to think that they no longer were available.
Music for the Blind
Although this site is not new, two things make it stand out. First, the site offers basic lessons for more than a dozen instruments. For a number of years, the available lessons mostly were for guitar and piano alone. Some of these lessons, though not all of them, became available on NLS. Second, all of the lessons are done totally by ear; there is no print, braille, video, or music notation.
The teacher describes techniques totally by ear. You hear what the instructor is doing and, after some instruction, are asked to do what he does. The lessons come on CDs, tapes, in some instances, and downloadable audio files. There also is a place on the homepage to s…